BEIJING – The Chinese government was so frightened that Joey Cheek, the former Olympic medalist turned human rights advocate, would come to the Beijing Games and mention the murder of 400,000 Sudanese that it decided to revoke his visa.
They must be petrified then of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, the two global sporting icons who are immensely popular in this basketball-mad country and are simply too big to silence.
Should either display the conviction they’ve flashed in the past in publicly denouncing the genocide in Darfur, then the Chinese could be humiliated by the attention on their decision to buy oil from, and provide arms to, the murderous Sudanese government.
Will they, though?
Or will the enormity of it all, the general chilling of speech at these bizarre games or the push by USA Basketball for Kobe and LeBron to focus first on winning gold, allow the moment to pass?